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Mumbai, Kolkata under threat from rising sea levels
Nov 22, 2015

 According to a report by Climate Central, a US-based research organization Mumbai and Kolkata are among the top 10 megacities across the world that face serious threats due to rising sea levels owing to climate change

 As many as 11 million people are at risk in Mumbai alone if the global temperature rises by 4 degrees Celsius

 Cities in India – Calcutta, Mumbai and Cuttack - should restrict exposure to 24%, 27% and 7% of its population as opposed to 51%, 50% and 18% should the temperature rise to 4 degrees Celsius.

 Howrah district in Calcutta, which lies next to the Hooghly river, where 60% population is at risk, would benefit by the 2 degrees Celsius difference in the warming scenario. The risk would be cut three-fold, as would Wuxi, a city near Shanghai, China on the banks of the Taihu Lake.

 The report said that carbon emissions, causing 4 degrees Celsius of warming, could result into rise in sea levels that could submerge land, currently home to 470-760 million people. It could also mean unstoppable rise of sea levels over centuries to come. The report, however, added that aggressive carbon cuts, resulting in 2 degrees Celsius warming, could bring down the number of people who will get affected to 130 million.

 China faces maximum risk with 145 million people under threat due to rising sea levels, if emissions are not reduced.

 Besides China 12 other nations, including India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam, each have more than 10 million people at risk.For instance, India has 55 million inhabitants endangered by 4 degrees Celsius warming, while 20 million at risk from 2 degrees Celsius warming.

 Top 10 global megacities that face maximum risk include Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Mumbai, Dhaka, Jakarta and Hanoi.

 Mumbai has 11 million people at risk after 4 degrees Celsius of warming; the number drops to 5.8 million in case of 2 degrees Celsius warming.

 Almost 11 million people are at a risk in Mumbai while globally 760 million people would be affected due to sea level rise. The report also added that such a scenario can be averted if 195 countries, meeting in Paris later in December to reach an agreement to tackle climate change, make a ‘sharp transition’ to clean energy.

 Ahead of the Paris summit, 150 nations have submitted their nationally determined plans to tackle climate change and cap global temperature rise to two degree Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. But, the United Nations said last week that even if climate action plans are implemented, greenhouse gas emissions will still be on the rise. The Climate Central report thus asks countries to evaluate the four-degree rise scenario during the Paris summit.

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